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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 12

Verses 1-12

  1. Intro:
    1. What do you fear?
    2. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported that 30 years ago, the greatest fears of grade school children were:
      1. Loud noises.
      2. Strangers
      3. High places
      4. Being in a dark room
      5. ​​​Animals
    3. Today, kids are afraid of the following:
      1. Divorce
      2. Nuclear war
      3. Cancer
      4. Pollution
      5. Being mugged.
    4. Types of fear?
    5. Social Phobias (fear involving other people & social situations)
      Specific Phobias (spiders, dogs, elevators)
      Agoraphobias (going outside a small safe area)
      Peladophobia:
      fear of baldness and bald people.
      Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people.
      Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple.
      Phobophobia: fear of being afraid.
    6. How to face one’s Fears?
      We had been dating for months, and I knew that Sam was very fond of me. But he was so shy it seemed that he would never get up the courage to propose. Then his mother invited me for dinner. His whole family was present, including an aunt and uncle from out of town. The next day Sam asked what I thought of his aunt and uncle. I told him, "I like them very much." He said, "They like you very much, too. In fact, they asked me when we were getting married." He paused. "What shall I tell them?"
    7. Outline: Fearing to Reveal your True Self; Fearing Physical Death; Fearing You are Worthless; Fearing to Publicly Proclaim your Faith; Fearing what to Say.
  2. FEARING TO REVEAL YOUR TRUE SELF! (1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​Hypocrisy – “acting a part” It is one who is never genuine; he’s always play acting.
      1. The basis of hypocrisy is insincerity.
      2. God would rather have a blunt, honest sinner, than someone who puts on an act of goodness! (The Gospel of Luke. (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed.)
    2. Jesus charged the Pharisees w/hypocrisy because they tried to hide what they really were behind masks of outward religious practices. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.45.)
    3. Often when you fear people, you start to hide the truth, & this leads to hypocrisy.
      1. When we fear people, then we are in danger of compromising in order to please them. And then there we are “playacting” again!
    4. Hypocrisy is like yeast because it “starts small, spreads, & eventually infects the whole.”
    5. Hypocrisy is destined to fail because eventually God will reveal all things & God is the final judge.
  3. FEARING PHYSICAL DEATH! (4,5)
    1. ​​​​​​​To fear(5) or not to fear(7), that is the question!
      1. ​​​​​​​Q: Which is it? - All should fear His Sovereign power; but once a child of His, never fear your worth to Him!
    2. Man’s power over man is strictly limited to this life.
      1. A man can destroy another mans life but not his soul.
      2. Don’t fear physical death, but spiritual death.
    3. God’s power is such that it can blot out a man’s very soul!
      1. May it be said of us as it was of John Knox (as his body was being lowered into the grave) “Here lies one who feared God so much, that he never feared the face of man.”
      2. Wow, we fear man to the point of not wanting to dress “out of style”!
    4. One time many years ago, the king of Hungary found himself depressed and unhappy. He sent for his brother, a good-natured but rather indifferent prince. The king said to him, “I am a great sinner; I fear to meet God.” But the prince only laughed at him. Though he was a believer, the king had gotten a glimpse of his guilt for the way he’d been living lately, and he seriously wanted help.
      In those days it was customary if the executioner sounded a trumpet before a man’s door at any hour, it was a signal that he was to be led to his execution. The king sent the executioner in the dead of night to sound the fateful blast at his brother’s door. The prince realized with horror what was happening. Quickly dressing, he stepped to the door and was seized by the executioner, and dragged pale and trembling into the king’s presence. In an agony of terror he fell on his knees before his brother and begged to know how he had offended him. “My brother,” answered the king, “if the sight of a human executioner is so terrible to you, shall not I, having grievously offended God, fear to be brought before the judgment seat of Christ?”
    5. (4) Q: Was this an important statement to the 1st century believers?
    6. Matthew suffered martyrdom by being slain with a sword in Ethiopia.
      Mark
      died at Alexandria, after being cruelly dragged through the streets.
      Luke
      was hanged on an olive tree in Greece.
      John was put into a caldron of boiling oil, escaped death in a miraculous manner, & afterwards banished to Patmos.
      Peter was crucified upside down at Rome.
      James the Greater
      was beheaded at Jerusalem.
      James the Less was thrown from a lofty pinnacle of the temple, and then beaten to death with a fuller's club.
      Philip was hanged up against a pillar at Hierapolis in Phrygia.
      Bartholomew
      was flayed alive.
      Andrew was bound to a cross, where he preached to his persecutors until he died.
      Thomas was run through with a lance at Coromandel in the East Indies.
      Jude
      was shot to death with arrows.
      Matthias was first stoned, and then beheaded.
      Barnabas of the Gentiles was stoned to death by the Jews at Salonika.
      Paul
      after various tortures and persecutions was at length beheaded at Rome by the Emperor Nero.
    7. Q: Is this an important statement to many today?
      1. Yes, many suffering for their faith in our world today.
    8. Q: Is this an important statement to you & I today?
      1. Yes, because we must learn to fear God more than man.
      2. We fear men so much because we fear God so little.
  4. FEARING YOU ARE WORTHLESS! (6,7)
    1. ​​​​​​​2 copper coins – asSARions – smallest Roman coin.
      1. Worth about 1/16th of a denarius.
    2. You are important to God. You are precious in His sight!
      1. Hear Jesus, as He teaches the security His children have in Him.
      2. To God, we are never lost in the crowd!
      3. Not even a little brown common sparrow, which has very little value, is forgotten before God.
        1. If God provides so beautifully for the least of his creatures, then how much more will he provide for the greatest of His creatures?
      4. The Jews were so impressed with the individual care of God that they said that every blade of grass had its guardian angel. (Barclay)
      5. Each of us can say, “God cares for me!”
    3. Ravi Zacharias Podcast [Penn State Q & A]
      Atheist friend, read in Genesis “women shall be cursed with pain in childbirth.” - “I refuse to believe in something that doesn’t believe in me.” - She must see herself as having worth & value. - If atheism is true she has no value, no point of reference for her worth. - Where do her morals come from? She borrowed from a Judeo/Christian worldview & then uses it to try to debunk it. - What Jesus did for women? {Women caught in adultery(time period); Alabaster jar broken; res.} Context – sin has a cost.So read the whole context, read how Jesus placed value on women.
    4. There was a man who loved old books. He met an acquaintance who had just thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations. “I couldn’t read it,” the friend explained. “Somebody named Guten-something had printed it.” “Not Gutenberg!” the book lover exclaimed in horror. “That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. Why, a copy just sold for over two million dollars!” His friend was unimpressed. “Mine wouldn’t have brought a dollar. Some fellow named Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German.”
      1. His name scribbled all over you brings you worth!
    5. We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing!
      1. T. Paine said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: Tis dearness only that gives everything its value.
      2. Major A. H. Peuchen(a millionaire aboard the Titanic) left $300,000 in money, jewelry and securities in a box in his cabin. He said, “The money seemed a mockery at that time,…I picked up three oranges instead.”[Those 3 oranges just went up in value, $100,000 each!]
    6. I believe two of the greatest fears people struggle with today are the fear that they will never be loved and the fear that they will never be able to love.
      1. People are seeking meaningful, intimate and lasting relationships.
      2. You may not “feel” of worth. You may have “been told” you have no value. You may have “thought” you are of no importance.
      3. But God has made you accepted in the beloved. God declares your worth.
      4. God has made you in His image.
  5. FEARING TO PUBLICLY PROCLAIM YOUR FAITH! (8-10)
    1. ​​​​​​​CONFESS OR DENY? (8-10)
      1. Jesus encourages them not to be afraid to acknowledge their faith publicly.
      2. Some have interpreted this to mean that you have to come forward & make a ‘public confession of Christ’ known as “the altar call”.
      3. (10) Why is that the unforgivable sin? Because in such a state repentance becomes impossible.
        1. If a man doesn’t even realize that he’s sinning, if goodness no longer makes any appeal to him, he cannot repent.
        2. God has not shut him out; by his repeated refusals he has shut himself out.
        3. That means that the one man who can never have committed the unforgivable sin is the man who fears that he has! For once a man has committed it, he is so dead to God that he is conscious of no sin at all.
      4. If a man for long enough refuses to use a faculty he will lose it. [Examples]
        1. ​​​​​​​If we don’t use a part of the body for an extended period it atrophies.
        2. Darwin tells how when he was a young man he loved poetry and music; but he so devoted himself to biology that he completely neglected them. The consequence was that in later life poetry meant nothing to him and music was only a noise, and he said that if he had his life to live over again he would see to it that he would read poetry and listen to music so that he would not lose the faculty of enjoying them. (The Gospel of Luke. (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed)
        3. Just so we can lose the faculty of recognizing God!
          1. By repeatedly refusing God’s word, by repeatedly taking our own way, by repeatedly shutting our eyes to God and closing our ears to him, we can come to a stage when to us evil becomes good and good becomes evil.
          2. That is what happened to the scribes and Pharisees.
          3. They had so blinded and deafened themselves to God that when He came they called him the devil. (11:15)
    2. FEARING WHAT TO SAY! (11,12)
      1. ​​​​​​​In the 4th Gospel the favorite title of the Holy Spirit is the Paraclete.
        1. Parakletos means someone who stands by to help!
        2. It can be used of a witness or an advocate to plead our cause.
        3. In the day of trouble there need be no fear, for the Holy Spirit of God stands by to help. (The Gospel of Luke. (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed.)
        4. He will help us in both our inner attitude & outward response.
      2. End:
      3. “Faith is a crow which loves to perch on scarecrows” (i.e. recognizes it for what it truly is, an advertisement for some very juicy and delicious fruit which is to be had for the picking)
    3. General George Patton when in Sicily said, “I learned very early in my life never to take counsel of my fears!"
    4. A John Hopkins University doctor says, “We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than the non-worriers, but that is a fact.” We are inwardly fashioned for faith and not for fear. God made us that way. If fear and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil.
    5. At age 16 Andor Foldes was already a skilled pianist, but he was experiencing a troubled year. In the midst of the young Hungarian’s personal struggles, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to Budapest. Emil von Sauer was famous not only for his abilities; he was also the last surviving pupil of the great Franz Liszt. Von Sauer requested that Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, Von Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead. “My son,” he said, “when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, ‘Take good care of this kiss—it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me play.’ I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it.”
      1. God the Father has Kissed you with His thoughts toward you! Ps.139:17,18 “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Jesus has kissed you sweet saint with value & worth! The Holy Spirit has kissed you with His love poured into your hearts!
      2. Will you pass on His Kiss?

Verses 13-21

  1. Intro:
    1. George W. Truett, a well-known pastor, was invited to dinner in the home of a very wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area. Pointing to the oil wells punctuating the landscape, he boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as you can see, it’s all mine.” - Looking in the opposite direction at his sprawling fields of grain, he said, “That’s all mine.” - Turning east toward huge herds of cattle, he bragged, “They’re all mine.” - Then pointing to the west and a beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That too is all mine.” He paused, expecting Dr. Truett to compliment him on his great success. Truett, however, placing one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointing heavenward with the other, simply said, “How much do you have in that direction?” The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that.” (Our Daily Bread, October 24, 1992)
    2. Q: What is the true meaning of life?
    3. Q: If someone gave you 10,000 this week, what would you do with it?
    4. Q: How much do you have in that direction?
      1. So many have learned how to make money but never learned how to spend it!
    5. Did you know: [1] Jesus had more to say about material possessions than any other subject [2] Approx ½ of the parables deal with possessions [3] 1 out of 6 verses in Mt, Mrk, & Lk discuss right handling of material goods.
      1. He emphasizes the principle of INVESTMENT!
      2. “you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” Mt.25:27
  2. COVETOUSNESS! (13-15)
    1. Imagine being so greedy that you would interrupt a sermon to ask for help to get more money! (Warren Wiersbe; With The Word; pg.677.)
    2. Breaking in on Jesus’ conversation…this brother cries JUSTICE!
      1. But Jesus hears the real cry from his heart…COVETOUSNESS!
    3. Remember the older brother’s portion was supposed to be double that of the younger. [but maybe his claim on it was right, but we know the spirit of it was wrong!]
    4. Isn’t Jesus going to judge? – He was probably alluding to Exodus 2:14 where Moses appointed himself ruler and judge over his fellow Israelites.
      1. Jesus didn’t come into the world to do that kind of thing.
      2. ‘I am not here to deal with material substance & possessions in that way.’
      3. Jesus rejects the role of arbitrator in order to probe the attitude motivating him. [He wants to get at the moral issue at hand!]
    5. Covetousness is a combo of greed + envy.
      1. It’s the desire for more & more, often activated by wanting what someone else has! (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.47.)
      2. One day Abraham Lincoln was walking down the street with two small boys who were both crying loudly. A neighbor passing by inquired, "What's the matter, Abe? Why all the fuss?" Lincoln responded, "The trouble with these lads is what's wrong with the world; one has a nut and the other wants it!"
      3. In the garden man had all trees, God had one. And man wasn’t content until he had that one also!
    6. Covetousness comes in many forms: [2 main ones]
      1. [1] Holding too tightly with what is already possessed!
      2. [2] Grasping for more.
    7. Covetousness comes with a double warning:
      1. Take heed & beware.
      2. It has a stealthy approach(creeps up on you), & it has a terrible end.
        1. So, be careful how it begins, & how it ends.
    8. Covetousness is self 1st in everything.
    9. Q: Can you think of biblical examples of covetousness that led to loss?
      1. Loss of innocence, loss of life; led to murder, adultery, lies ?
        1. How about Achon, or David.
  3. INVESTMENTS! (16-21)
    1. ​​​​​​​NO PROBLEMO!
    2. He doesn’t criticize the man for:
    3. [1] Being Rich – Gained it honestly. Good piece of ground. Farmed it well.
      1. He did not gain his goods wrongly, sin came after the gain.
    4. [2] For Saving – See Joseph example in Gen.41 [Joseph saved for others!]
      1. It is not a sin to have, only to hoard!
    5. [3] For Planning – With prospect of a good harvest he wanted to plan for it.
      1. Still good…but it was how he planned!
    6. THE PROBLEMS!
    7. [1] He thought about his bounty, his barns, his goods.
      1. My crops, my barns, my crops, my goods, my soul.
      2. He was a little Myopic[lacking in foresight: showin a lack of foresight, long-term planning]
    8. [2] He didn’t recognize God as the real owner.
      1. Deut.8:18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.”
      2. There is difficulty storing goods, but he consulted no one.
    9. [3] He was a pleasure seeker who lived only for material things.
      1. It’s often asked when a wealthy man dies, “how much did he leave behind?” And the answer of course is always…“Everything!
        1. One Answered, “he left all behind except himself…but he was worthless!”
      2. See, when we ask “how much is one worth” we should be talking about one’s character & not one’s possessions!
    10. [4] He was called a fool because he left God out of his life. (Have U left God out?)
      1. Like a crack of thunder God said to him, Fool!
      2. Fool = one who is utterly devoid of mind, one who lacks good sense or judgment.
    11. [5] He missed the true meaning of life by giving himself wholly to getting & spending.
      1. Worldly goods cannot keep your soul alive.
        1. In this case abundance is no better than mere sufficiency. (Griffith Thomas; pg.215)
      2. A ship should be in water, not water in the ship.
        1. So with possessions…We should posses them, but not let them possess us!
  4. SAD ENDING!
    1. ​​​​​​​With infinite satire, wrought with eternal compassion Jesus said, “then whose will those things be?”
      1. He made 2 fatal errors: He assumed he had many years to live, & He assumed material goods can satisfy the soul.
      2. Prov.27:23,24 “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations.”
    2. Rich in earthly possessions, but entered eternity as a pauper.
    3. Note vs.21 is for everyone of us(see “who” i.e. whoever).
      1. Today we need to take this caution to heart!
      2. The use or misuse of $ is in our heart attitudes.
      3. See, it’s possible to buy many books & still be illiterate!
    4. He thought of years, but could not reckon on one night! (Ibid.)
      1. “It is certain we can carry nothing out” 1 Tim.6:7
    5. In Jesus’ day – a person would accumulate wealth by: purchasing costly garments & cloth; or buy collecting coins & burying them or hiding them in your houses mud walls.
      1. The problem: moths could eat the garments; coins could rust; & thieves could dig into the wall & take it.
      2. So, one sure way to invest is to invest by “laying up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
    6. If we dedicate our heart to the Lord, our $ will follow.
      1. Heart in Scripture = more than affections.
        1. It encompasses our whole “spiritual & intellectual being”.
      2. Thus, our heavenly treasure is moth-proofed, rust-proofed, & is stored in a thief-proof vault.
    7. Q: How is your life influenced by your earthly & heavenly treasures?
      1. Earthly – by having to make, plan, spend, & invest wisely.
      2. Heavenly – in sending them ahead it gives me: peace of mind, security for the future, & knowing…it brings God pleasure!
    8. Q: What are 3 ways you can make sure you are “rich toward God”?
      1. Stewardship of all my Time, Talents, & Treasures!
    9. If life is first and foremost spiritual, not what it has but what it is counts!
    10. Here is where all hope lies…if today you recognize these distinctions & change!
      1. Q: Are you ready to center your life on spiritual things & no longer on material things?
      2. Don’t store up earthly riches and ignore a relationship with God!
    11. Q: How much do you have in that direction?

Leo Tolstoy

once wrote a story about a successful peasant farmer who was not satisfied with his lot. He wanted more of everything. One day he received a novel offer. For 1000 rubles, he could buy all the land he could walk around in a day. The only catch in the deal was that he had to be back at his starting point by sundown. Early the next morning he started out walking at a fast pace. By midday he was very tired, but he kept going, covering more and more ground. Well into the afternoon he realized that his greed had taken him far from the starting point. He quickened his pace and as the sun began to sink low in the sky, he began to run, knowing that if he did not make it back by sundown the opportunity to become an even bigger landholder would be lost. As the sun began to sink below the horizon he came within sight of the finish line. Gasping for breath, his heart pounding, he called upon every bit of strength left in his body and staggered across the line just before the sun disappeared. He immediately collapsed, blood streaming from his mouth. In a few minutes he was dead. Afterwards, his servants dug a grave. It was not much over six feet long and three feet wide. The title of Tolstoy’s story was: How Much Land Does a Man Need?

Bits and Pieces, November, 1991

One family put up a hummingbird feeder with 4 feeding stations. Almost immediately it became popular with the hummingbirds that live in our area. 2, 3, or even 4 birds would feed at 1 time. We refilled the feeder at least once a day. Suddenly the usage decreased to almost nothing. The feeder needed filling only about once a week. The reason for the decreased usage soon became apparent. A male bird had taken over the feeder as his property. He is now the only hummingbird who uses our feeder. He feeds and then sits in a nearby tree, rising to attack any bird that approaches his feeder. Guard duty occupies his every waking hour. He is an effective guard. The only time another bird gets to use the feeder is when the self-appointed owner is momentarily gone to chase away an intruder.

By choosing to assume ownership of the feeder, he is forfeiting his freedom. He is tied to the work of guarding his feeder. He is possessed by his possession. His freedom of action is as circumscribed as if he were in a cage. He is caged by a situation he has created.

W. L. Barnes, Free As a Bird.

Verses 22-34

  1. Intro:
    1. Big Picture:
      1. Last week (13-21) parable of the Rich Fool the issue was “don’t hoard material possessions!” {i.e. covetousness}
        1. He was like the schoolboy who was once asked what parts of speech “my & mine” are, he replied aggressive pronouns!
        2. The Rich Fool lived life like he was drinking sea water…the more he drank the thirstier he became!
      2. This week (22-34) Jesus gives the flip side concern, “don’t be anxious about basic needs!” {i.e. anxiety/worry}
      3. Covetousness is the desire for more-n-more but never getting enough; Anxiety is the crippling fear that there may not be enough. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.47)
        1. So this is addressed to “the have’s” & “the have not’s”!
        2. Which do you struggle with? Luxuries or Necessities?
      4. So Jesus returns to talking about “life” & “things” from vs.15, now to His disciples.
    2. Outline: 2 Prohibitions; 2 Considerations; 2 Reminders that we are Priceless; 2 Paths; 2 Commands.
  2. REAPING RAVENS & LABORING LILIES! (22-34)
    1. 2 PROHIBITIONS! (22,23)
    2. DON’T WORRY ABOUT FOOD!
    3. Worry – (This is the catchword in this section, see also vs.25, 26 “anxious”)
      1. It means “to be pulled apart”; and that is what worry does to us!
      2. We don’t need to worry about our daily bread nor being clothed.
    4. Life is more than food – it is? “But I could starve to death w/o food!” Yes, you could starve to death as far as the body is concerned, but your life is still there (i.e. spiritual/eternal life)
    5. DON’T WORRY ABOUT CLOTHES!
    6. But it is difficult not to be anxious, and Jesus knew it, & so says to consider two things:
    7. 2 CONSIDERATIONS! (24-28)
    8. To Consider something is to See something – so what do we see?
      1. We are to see ravens that don’t reap & lilies that don’t labor!
    9. NO REAPING RAVENS! (24-26)
    10. Consider the Ravens – (any of the crow family. An unclean bird)
      1. Crows cry w/harsh, inarticulate, croaking notes making their wants known…and your heavenly Father answers their prayer, & sends them food. {note: it’s not a chirp, or beautiful whistle, but an ugly Caww!}
    11. Spurgeon, “If there was an ant at the door of your granary begging for help, it would not ruin you to give him a grain of your wheat.” –“Remember, you are but a tiny insect at the door of God’s all-sufficiency…do not doubt His sure supply!”
    12. NO LABORING LILIES! (27,28)
    13. Consider the lilies – (Scarlet anemones (William Barclay.), bloom for only a day, then die)
      1. Show my backyard flower shot.
    14. Labor & Spin(weave) – i.e in making clothing for themselves.
    15. Last point on Consider [Latin considerare, from sidus “star,” underlying idea being one of examining the stars carefully to divine the future]
      1. This week will you look out in nature & consider/examine a few things? – Let God give you your own bible study in nature.
        1. Maybe a crow, flower, star. Maybe pick up that penny on the ground & let it be a reminder “In God we trust!”
    16. 2 REMINDERS THAT WE ARE PRICLESS! (24-28)
    17. NO REAPING RAVENS! (24-26)
    18. Of how much more value are you!
      1. Come on, He hears & responds to crows crowing, how good do your prayers have to be for Him to respond?
    19. He did not mean to say that we are to sit down & expect God to feed you, as he feeds the birds.
      1. He said they sow not nor reap not, nor do they have store houses or barns…yet God feeds them.
      2. But we can sow, & reap, & store up. And we ought to sow, reap, & store. And hopefully realize we have less to worry about then those of His creation w/o reasoning skills & abilities to provide for themselves.
      3. If a crow had cognitive skills to, he would be able to reason, “Oh my, I can’t sow, nor reap, nor put what I do find in a mini-storage”…WHAT ABOUT MY NEXT MEAL!!! :-o
        1. He simply flies & looks for a worm in a gutter, or for a French Fry left over from your happy meal!
    20. (26) NLT “if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
    21. NO LABORING LILIES! (27,28)
    22. How much more will He clothe you!
    23. They don’t & couldn’t toil & spin but we can!
      1. He has given us the capacity to make & weave or sew clothing.
    24. If all of nature trusts God to meet its needs, God’s children should trust Him to meet their needs!
    25. 2 PATHS! (29-31)
    26. DO NOT SEEK! (29,30)
    27. Anxious mind - μετεωρίζο [meteorizo] “to buoy up with hope”. A metaphor taken from ships that are tossed about on the deep by winds and waves. (Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : (electronic ed.) (G3349). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.)
      1. It is moving from the place of lost & tossed at sea, to being buoyed up & secure. [buoy = to be kept up from falling or sinking]
      2. It is moving from being tossed at sea, to being anchored safely in a haven of rest.
        1. The Sea is our restlessness; The Anchor is trust(peaceful & safe); The Haven of rest is our Father(30b).
    28. He doesn’t say, “don’t take any thought towards, or be concerned with these things.” - It’s the anxious mind He considers sin!
      1. Sometimes it’s the sin/anxious mind of the rich fool not knowing how exactly to hoard his plenty(17); or it can be the sin/anxious mind of worrying about ones basic needs.
        1. Either way it regards self-consuming care.
    29. Concern vs. Worry:
      1. Concerns – Be concerned for things we are responsible for.
      2. Worry – is concerning yourself with things over which we have no control.
    30. Q: Why does God hate us worrying & being anxious? Because when we worry we are denying the faithfulness of God!
      1. Phil.4:6,7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
      2. It brings discredit on God. Q: What is the difference with this attitude
        1. the attitude of atheism, “a-theism”, or “no-God-ism”?
    31. SEEK! (31)
    32. Look at he vital connection here: Seek the kingdom(31), it’s your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom(32). [He will give us what we seek!]
    33. Rather than worry about things or use them as substitutes for life, believers should concentrate on the concerns of the kingdom.
      1. These things should be the supreme passion of our life!
      2. The passion of life is a passion for His kingdom.
      3. The passion for his kingdom is a passion for however it is in heaven, that it would be the same down here!
        1. i.e. “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”
    34. All these things – Look at God’s formula Æ Consider + Seek = all these things
      1. ​​​​​​​You know what’s excluded in all these things?
      2. See Scripture says, all things are yours, all things except for yourself: “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      3. “We spend our health looking for wealth & then spend our wealth looking for health!” Vance Havner
      4. Maybe the key is in Johns words to Gaius (3rdJn2) “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. [God wants no man to be richer than his soul!]
    35. Here then is the central motive in the life of a Christian!
      1. If our heart is centered on Christ & trusting wholly in Him, you will have a united heart that fears God alone.
        1. Ps.86:11 “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart(give me singleness of heart) to fear Your name.”
      2. The key to a worry-free life is a heart-fixed wholly on God!
      3. (Core Values) “We encounter God as we center our affections on him!”
    36. Q: If it is taken seriously, what is Jesus’ promise then in regard to material needs?
      1. He promises the bountiful basics of life! – And once we have accepted this, we have laid the foundation for genuine contentment!
      2. In his book “God’s Psychiatry,” Charles L. Allen tells this story: “As World War II was drawing to a close, the Allied armies gathered up many hungry orphans. They were placed in camps where they were well-fed. Despite excellent care, they slept poorly. They seemed nervous and afraid. Finally, a psychologist came up with the solution. Each child was given a piece of bread to hold after he was put to bed. This particular piece of bread was just to be held—not eaten. The piece of bread produced wonderful results. The children went to bed knowing instinctively they would have food to eat the next day. That guarantee gave the children a restful & contented sleep.” (Galaxie Software. (2002; 2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.)
    37. Q: How can this apply practically in your own situation?
      1. Q: Any area in your life you need to get re-centered on Christ?
    38. 2 COMMANDS! (32-34)
    39. ​​​​​​​DO NOT FEAR! (32)
    40. A large flock is generally composed of several thousands of sheep belonging to many families & taken care of by many shepherds.
      1. Small flocks generally consist of the sheep of poor families. They have only one shepherd & are usually victims of thieves.
      2. A little flock was a seemingly defenseless group which could be preyed on (Rambo & Lady…& the coyote)
      3. Followers of Christ were a little flock compared to the organized religion of the day. They were hated & persecuted, but they trusted in the Lord for security & guidance against all enemies.
    41. His fear not is followed by a reminder our 3-fold relationship w/Him: Good Shepherd; our Father who art in heaven; & the King of Kings!
      1. A little flock must have a Shepherd, He’s your Father, & a kingdom must have a king.
      2. He’s pledged to us as our Shepherd, Father & King…Have any worry’s???
    42. SELL & GIVE! (33,34)
    43. I just had someone last week seeking to do this very thing.
      1. Maybe this is a no excuse clause for giving. “I don’t have money to give”, no problem sell something off!
      2. Context…to make sure you have secured deposits sent ahead of you in heaven.
        1. Dividends are postponed but, but they are perfectly safe!!!
      3. The principle is scatter & yet you’ll increase.​​​​​​​
        1. See Eccl.11:1 “cast your bread upon the waters for you will find it after many days” – or possibly “send out your grain in ships.”
        2. Solomon was very involved in different kinds of trade, but there was risk in trade. - It would be months or years before their investment would return, so this would take faith & patience.
      4. Sell & give in order to bless others & not just yourself.
        1. God 1st is the balance!
    44. (34) In modern usage this means that whatever is most important to you has all your attention & care.
    45. If your treasures are heavenly & thus secure, you need not worry, for your heart will be in the same place…in a heavenly safety deposit box.
      1. Col.3:1-3 (note: seek & set your mind on what’s above; & your life)
    46. Illus: A little girl was putting a torn up map of the U.S. together & was getting frustrated because she didn’t know her states. Then she remembered on the other side was a picture of George Washington. She knew what he looked like, so when she had assembled that side, she had the other also!
      1. Life w/o Christ is a hopeless jigsaw puzzle.

Verses 35-59

  1. Intro:
    1. We move from the stewardship of possessions to the stewardship of life & service!
      1. It does this by dealing with a heart check towards Jesus’ 2nd Coming.
      2. Frank Robles went home to Glory this week. (Kenny’s dad)
        1. Missionaries to the Samoan Islands; Alamos Mexico, then Pastor over Spanish Fellowship for CCCM.
        2. Last Baptism story! His son Kenny said, we didn’t have anything to go clean up. He didn’t need anything. He was about his wife, kids, grandkids, & getting people to Jesus.
          1. A steward of life & service!!!
    2. From last week – Living for material possessions can blind us to the future, & make us unprepared for the Lord’s return. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT.)
      1. We can get so wrapped up in this world’s goods that we neglect eternity.
    3. Outline: Waiting; Watching; Working; - Dividing; Discerning; Reconciling.
    4. Intro background:
      1. When a Master is away on journey his servants have to wait for his return & keep watch of the door.
        1. Easterners follow no itinerary & didn’t have watches, so punctuality was unknown.
      2. When the Master is away the women & children eat, then the servants, then a portion is set aside for the Masters return.
        1. At bed time the women & children go to sleep but the servants must keep awake & be ready to serve their master when he gets back. [it is a disgrace for the Master of a house to wait on himself or be locked out]
        2. Shrewd servants would sneak in some shut eye doing their best to calculate the time of his return.
      3. Faithful servants would never sleep. No matter when he would return they would be on the watch; even at intervals going to the door, looking outside, & seeing if he’s coming.
    5. India illustration(GFA, KP, Kerala) – received us very late. Met us at car to bring our things in. Went to kitchen to make us some toast.
  2. WAITING! (35,36)
    1. INSTRUCTION! (35,36)
    2. Be ready! – He requires vigilance, attentiveness, alertness, awareness.
    3. Waist girded – long flowing robes gathered up, to free yourself for activity.
    4. Lamps burning – required keeping your wick trimmed, & oil replenished.
  3. WATCHING! (37-40)
    1. ​​​​​​​CELEBRATION! (37,38)
    2. Prepared ones will experience great joy at His return.
    3. Note the double beatitude!
    4. CAUTION! (39,40)
    5. Constant watchfulness must be maintained.
    6. He comes as a thief so we must be ready. (1 Thes.5:2; Rev.16:15)
    7. We must be looking for His coming; loving it; & longing for His coming.
      1. 2 Tim.4:8 “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
    8. (40) Therefore you also be ready!
      1. A visitor to an elementary school told the children that upon his return he would give a prize to the student who had their desk in best order. “When will you return” they asked. He said, “I cannot tell”. A little girl, who was known for keeping a messy desk said she meant to win the prize. “You!” her schoolmates jeered, “your desk is always out of order”. “Oh, but I will clean at the beginning of every week!” “But what if he comes back at the end of the week?” “Then I will keep it clean every morning”. “But he may come at the end of the day”. She thought & then said, “I know what I’ll do, I’ll just keep it clean.” 3.8.1.1. Our exhortation is to Get Ready & Be Ready!
    9. Show - 2 min. Rapture Clip.
    10. During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. One day in 1789, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought.” Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we’re to be lights as we watch and wait. (Harry Heintz)
  4. WORKING! (41-48)
    1. ​​​​​​​To us or to all people? – Well I’m talking to My stewards; & of course you are stewards, but the door is open.
    2. REWARD! (41-44)
    3. Faithfulness during His absence = Rewards at His appearance.
    4. REBUKE! (45-48)
    5. Faithlessness during His absence = Rebukes at His appearance.
    6. (45) As soon as we decide the Lord isn’t returning soon, then we start living for ourselves.
      1. And this means judgment later(46).
      2. To not look for, long for, nor love His coming, is to allow our hearts to grow cold & get worldly.
  5. DIVIDING! (49-53)
    1. ​​​​​​​SUFFERING! (49,50)
    2. Fire – Primarily the refining fire of holiness & the ultimate fire of judgment against sin. (Jewish NT Commentary; Stern.)
    3. He will literally be baptized(immersed/submerged) on the cross w/His Fathers Wrath.
      1. Used for: as ship sunk beneath the waves; a man submerged in drink & therefore dead-drunk; a scholar submerged or sunk by an examiner’s questions; a man submerged in some grim & terrible experience.
      2. Jesus’ baptism was total identification w/sinful mankind, in which he bears our sins & their punishment.
      3. On the cross He felt sorrow like the sea billows of God’s judgment roll upon Him.
      4. He could sing like Horatio Spafford’s famous hymn, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.” (story from 101 Hymn Stories)
    4. The cross ever before his eyes!
    5. There was a Knight of Bethlehem, Whose wealth was tears & sorrows,
      His men-at-arms were little lambs, His trumpeters were sparrows.
      His castle was a wooden Cross On which he hung so high;
      His helmet was a crown of thorns, Whose crest did touch the sky. Barclay
    6. DIVISIONS! (51-53)
    7. The Gospel message will divide entire families.
      1. Show of hands if when you got saved it caused some family frictions?
        1. Families will be spilt down the middle over this issue.
        2. Jesus saw his outcome would be a crisis out of which would come judgment & division.
          1. It is not Jesus’ goal but it is inevitable.Some chose to follow & some would chose to reject him!
      2. Over & over again man had to decide whether he loved better his kith-&-kin, or Christ!
        1. The essence of Christianity is that loyalty to Christ has to take precedence over the dearest loyalties of this earth.
        2. To Count all things lost for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
      3. Wait! Isn’t Jesus Pro-family? Yes, “Pro-heavenly family 1st, & Pro-earthly family 2nd.” - There’s the true “Focus on the Family!”
  6. DISCERNING! (54-56)
    1. ​​​​​​​To his own disciples he entrusts them with information about His ministry, & about how to obey Him.
      1. With the crowds His goal was to awaken them to their need to commit their lives to Him, & to become His disciples.
    2. WEATHER-WISE! (54,55)
    3. Can discern weather, sky, clouds.
    4. Clouds out of the west – i.e. from over the Mediterranean Sea, they knew rain was on the way.
    5. South wind blow – Sirocco winds are hot, humid, & dusty. They begin in the Sahara, come across the Mediterranean, thus picking up moisture.
    6. Especially in our modern world – We can predict storms, give 15 day forecasts, tell you the day Halley’s comet will return(2061), even put a man on the moon!
      1. Isn’t it amazing that we can take a Katrina category 5 hurricane, (U.S. history’s deadliest hurricane) & reduce it to the size of our TV sets...1 manageable little swirl of white clouds.
    7. Make your own illustration…what are you great at discerning?
      1. Are you a News Junkie? Consider yourself a Political Analyst that can tell what’s going on in every nation, with every country’s leader?
      2. It’s not wrong to be weather-wise, matter of fact it is perfectly normal, but it should also be normal to seek spiritual things.
    8. SPIRITUALLY-FOOLISH! (56)
    9. Cannot discern the spiritual crisis all around them.
      1. Weather-wise & Spiritually-foolish!
        1. You know all about the sky but have never looked past it!
        2. You know all about the wind but nothing of the wind of the Spirit
      2. But how is it???
      3. Either they could not or would not discern the signs of the times!
  7. RECONCILING! (57-59)
    1. ​​​​​​​A great appeal to “get right with God!
    2. SETTLEMENT! (57,58a)
    3. Try to settle before court!
    4. A very vivid illustration for when one is threatened with a lawsuit.
    5. IMPRISONMENT! (58b,59)
    6. It may result in imprisonment!
    7. Last mite = lepton “the thin one”; the smallest of coins worth 1/32 of 1 penny.
    8. He names 4 officers of the court:
      1. Adversary – The legal opponent.
      2. Magistrate – The ruler, the 1st in rank.
      3. Judge – The one who made the decisions.
      4. Officer – The one who carried out the sentence of the judge.
      5. In the ultimate court of life: the adversary is God; the magistrate is God; the judge is God; the officer is God.
        1. Our 1st & last allegiance is to God!
        2. Read what Isaiah says regarding how God judges Is.11:3,4a.
    9. The assumption is that the defendant has a bad case which will inevitably go against him.
      1. ​​​​​​​Every man has a bad case in the presence of God; & if you are wise, you will make your peace w/God while yet there is time! (William Barclay; Luke.)
      2. Some things a man cannot afford to put off; above all, making his peace with God.
      3. Q: Have you made yours? – “make every effort along the way to settle with Him”…here is another chance along your way.
        1. On the cross the Father looked upon the Son as if he lived your life; & looks upon you as if you lived His!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Luke 12". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/luke-12.html. 2017.